This doesn’t have anything to do with HMB or Squidoo, but I need to get it off my chest. Why are ALL videogame stores so terrible? In my area there has been EB’s, Funcolands, Gamestops, Gamecrazys, and hell probably more that I can’t even remember. But EB bought Funcoland and then Gamestop bought EB (or at least I think this was the order of things, my memory is fuzzy and it’s 4:30 am). So now my choices are Gamestop and Gamecrazy. But it doesn’t matter which one you go to, the story is always the same.
Anyway, Grand Theft Auto 4 came out tonight (midnight launch). Knowing this, after running around like a madman (and doing a fair bit of procrastinating) because of me moving in with Petra, I decided to go and finish off my preorder at Gamecrazy so it would make my picking up of the game tonight easier and faster. This was my first error.
Whenever you go into a videogame store it just takes a long time at the cash register. They all insist on having your personal info, so they can track your sales and sell that data, I assume. And even if you go to a place often, they still need to look your name up. So this already just adds time to the point of sale.
In today’s case, I had to trade in old games because I am too poor to actually be able to afford GTA. This takes time, but that makes sense to me. They need to check each disc, they need to look up the price in their computers, they need to hit a shitload of buttons to bring it over to the invoice (or at least I think that is what they are doing). But basically it took me 5 minutes to trade in some games to pay for GTA4 in full. I wasn’t too upset, though I did have Petra waiting in the car for me so I felt bad about that. But I figured it was 5 minutes well spent. It was better than doing it in the long line that I knew was going to exist at the midnight launch.
I was completely and 100% wrong about this. I showed up at Gamecrazy at 12:15, figuring the line would already be moving, I didn’t want to stand around talking to random strangers so I figured I would just show up and get to the end of the preorder line. Wrong. There is no preorder line. There is just one, very long line. So I get to the end of it and realize after 5 minutes that I haven’t moved up one step. I don’t understand what could possibly be taking these idiots so long.
But as I look around I start to notice that even though they have two registers, they just have one line funneling into both of them. So they did absolutely NOTHING for the people who preordered (or in my case completely paid for the game in advance). So why in the hell did I preorder this thing? I am about 40 or 50th in line, and I’m behind all of these guys who have no preorders at all, stacks of like 15 PS2 games to trade in, and I have to wait for all of this. One hour and 20 minutes later when I get to the register it goes like this:
A guy standing to the side of the cashier whose only job is to grab the game off the shelf says “Which version do you want?”
“Boo, that’s dumb, the 360 version is better” (this, I know from watching videos is factually inaccurate).”
“Well, I want the PS3 version.”
“Yeah it’s cool, I am just a 360 fanboy.”
“To each their own.”
So then the cash register guy asks if I have a preorder. I say yes, I give him my name. He looks it up, this takes maybe 30 seconds, nothing obscene but still this is just all shit adding to the clock. He finds me and sees that it is paid in full. He doesn’t ask me for ID. This I am thankful for because this whole process is already taking too damn long, but if there is ever a reason to slow a transaction it should probably be to make sure that a person isn’t pretending to be someone. Some person in the store when I paid it off earlier could have heard me say my name and with that info alone got in line and got my game, for free. He didn’t even ask for my address. But I digress.
He then says “Would you like the strategy guide, it’s 30% off if you buy it now.”
“Um, no thanks, I have the internet if I get stuck.”
“But the strategy guide also comes with maps.”
“Yeah, and so does the instruction book. And the internet.”
“Ok, would you like the game guard? If you break your disc for any reason for a year we will get you a new one.”
“No thanks, I take care of my stuff.”
“Are you sure, you never know what’s going to happen.”
“Yes, I am sure, can I just get my game please?”
And then something weird happens. He types some stuff into his computer and says “The computer is telling me I owe you $10.” I respond “This is the first thing your computer has said that I’ve enjoyed.” He didn’t laugh.
He gave me $10, I still don’t know why, but shit – I took it. Then he said “just wait a second I need to print the receipt.”
I’m not shitting you right now, these guys use one of those 1993-era dot matrix printers. It took literally 2 minutes for him to print this thing. It finally finishes and he gives it to me and I walk out… one hour and twenty minutes after I first got in line. A line with 50 people tops, funneling into 2 registers.
Now, maybe I am a genius, and these companies should hire me to streamline their shit, but I have a much better solution for them. Make two lines, one for people who are paid in full and one for those who aren’t. This way the preorder means something, and it gives me an actual reason to go into your store and give you money for a product that isn’t even out yet. Secondly, BUY A PRINTER MADE IN THIS CENTURY. Third, and most important, don’t try to sell us all this extra crap when you have a long line filled with people who have been standing around for over an hour. If we wanted the book we would ask for the book. Put a little sign up near the register explaining what “Game Guard” does and if people want it they will tell you. And for the love of god, if you don’t know me by name check my ID or something so I feel like I can give you money in advance in good faith, because right now I know I will never do that again in that store because any dude who knew my name could have walked out with my $63 purchase.
If they did these things I would have been in and out in 15 minutes. Not one hour twenty minutes. Maybe writing isn’t my field, someone should pay me to walk around and just slap the living shit out of game store management until they understand these really simple rules of how to make their customers happy and how to keep lines moving.
I can’t even say I really enjoy the game right now. I played it for an hour, but I’ve been in such an annoyed mood since that whole thing that I’m gonna have to sleep on it and approach the game with a clearer mind. What a damn nightmare though, and that is the last time I preorder anything from that store. And probably any store. I am in no way a fan of huge mega-marts like walmart, but all my fellow internet nerds that I talked to tonight said “yeah i walked into walmart and bought it in 5 minutes.”